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Jeff Miers’ Gig of the Week: Rubblebucket

It was like their own version of the struggle, turmoil and heartbreak that Fleetwood Mac endured during the creation of their gazillion-selling “Rumors” album. Brooklyn’s indie-art-rock outfit Rubblebucket battled health issues, substance abuse problems and the dissolution of band founders Kalmia Traver and Alex Toth’s long-standing romantic relationship. Most bands would at the very least consider throwing in the towel at that point. But Rubblebucket instead decided to chronicle their time spent adrift in rough waters with an album that, at times, whistles past the graveyard, and at others, rages at the dying of the light.

The resulting long-player, “Sun Machine,” is perhaps best encapsulated by one of its song titles, “Party Like Your Heart Hurts.” Part of the explosion of artsy dance-funk-indie hybrids that defined the Brooklyn scene of the past 10 years or so, Rubblebucket has lost none of its exuberance, its danceability and its infectious weirdness. The in-your-face horn arrangements, the nigh-on-disco grooves and the undeniable charisma that bathes Traver’s singing – are all present, accounted for, and eager to take the listener higher, in Sly Stone’s parlance.

I caught the band when it headlined a bill at the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls in 2012. I entered the building a Rubblebucket newbie, acting on a tip from a local musician I greatly respected. I left a fan, reminded of catching Talking Heads at its art-funk peak, as a 13-year-old. This band simply spreads joy, liberally.

Rubblebucket with And the Kids, perform at 8 p.m. Dec. 5 at Asbury Hall at Babeville (341 Delaware Ave.); $20,

Within You and Without You…

Naryan Padmanabha is a virtuoso sitar player deeply schooled in the tradition of Indian classical music, but fearless in his conception of how that music might be applied in Western settings. He’s been fusing the micro-tonal beauty of Indian music with jam, funk, jazz, electronic music and various permutations thereof under the moniker Family Function & the Sitar Jams for more than a decade. On Dec. 1, he’ll be continuing that tradition beneath the moniker Chill.Sitar.Vibes, with a show at 9 p.m. show at Revolution Art Gallery (1419 Hertel Ave.). For this gig, Padmanabha will be joined by members of Rhubarb, Tiger Chung Lee and Critt’s Juke Joint. ($5, door)


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